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Gluten-Free Foods

August 29, 2013

Gluten-free diets are all the rage, but only a small portion of the population is truly sensitive to the wheat protein.

Transcript

BOB HIRSHON (host):

Much ado about gluten. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

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Many people have adopted a gluten-free diet on the assumption that it will improve their health. But according to University of Chicago gastroenterologist Stefano Guandalini, only a tiny fraction of the population is truly sensitive to gluten, or have a more serious condition called celiac disease. And they won’t be able to get an accurate diagnosis if they go gluten-free without first consulting a doctor.

STEFANO GUANDALINI (University of Chicago):

A couple of months of going gluten-free is all that is needed for the antibodies that are detectable in celiac disease to go back to normal. So that makes the diagnosis impossible at that point in time. All this can be prevented by going to the doctor and do the proper testing and then decide what is the best procedure.

HIRSHON:

Celiac disease causes inflammation of the small intestines, which can result in abdominal pain and fatigue among other symptoms. I’m Bob Hirshon, for AAAS, the science society.